CHARLESTON, WV (LOOTPRESS) – On Monday, Amtrak announced that it has submitted requests for $716 million in federal grant funding for several projects, including switching the Cardinal route to daily service.

The Amtrak Cardinal is one of Amtrak’s multiple long-distance trains which runs from Chicago, IL to New York, NY three times a week.

The Cardinal, at one time, did run daily but daily service was suspended in the 1980s. Now, it only serves West Virginia on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

Communities in the Mountain State served by the Cardinal include Huntington, Charleston, Montgomery, Thurmond, Prince, Hinton, Alderson, and White Sulphur Springs. The Cardinal runs both east and west on its scheduled days.

Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Senator Shelley Moore-Capito (R-WV) have continually supported the idea of daily Cardinal service.

Manchin says he sees great potential if the Cardinal was switched to daily service.

“I applaud Amtrak for seeking infrastructure funding to restore daily service on the Cardinal line that travels thru the Mountain State,” Manchin said. “This is a great step in connecting WV communities, bringing more visitors to our great State, & creating new economic opportunities.”

Capito says that rail travel provides more transportation options for West Virginians.

“The Cardinal line is a great example of that, providing West Virginia with important connections from Chicago to Washington, Philadelphia, and New York,” Capito said. “I am glad to see that funding through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which I helped negotiate and include, could lead to service increases, something for which I have long advocated.”

Another key reason both senators are supporting the switch to daily service is that it will allow more visitors to conveniently travel to the New River Gorge National Park & Preserve, America’s newest national park.

“Access to West Virginia through rail has been a crucial aspect of our infrastructure, and a key component in providing travel opportunities for West Virginians and bringing new individuals to visit our state,” Capito said.

“I am committed to seeing daily rail service in Charleston, Huntington, the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, and the many communities along the Cardinal line and will continue to work to see West Virginia get the daily passenger rail service it deserves,” Manchin stated.

Currently, the Cardinal stops at Thurmond, Prince, and Hinton which are located within the boundaries of the national park. The Cardinal is the only train to stop within the boundaries of a U.S. National Park.